UAE property: Can my landlord raise the rent via WhatsApp?

Changes to a lease have to be communicated at least 90 days before it expires and can be sent by email or text

rental agreement form with signing hand and keys and pen 

istockphoto.com
Powered by automated translation
An embedded image that relates to this article

Question: I always read your columns regarding laws on rent increases and find them very helpful.

My question is, can my landlord notify me of a rental increase via WhatsApp?

The mobile phone number he used to notify me of the increase is not the number mentioned in the contract. However, it is the number that he uses to communicate with my husband.

The contract is in my name. My husband signed the contract, as he has power of attorney from me. SM, Dubai

Answer: Any changes to a rental contract have to be communicated at least 90 days before the expiration of the agreement and be in writing.

Any form of written communication for the purpose of this is acceptable such as email or WhatsApp.

In your case, as long as you recognise that the person requesting the change of rental increase (in this case) is indeed the landlord, then it doesn’t matter that the mobile number used is different from the one in the original contract.

I would also like to clarify that the increase has to be in line with what the Rera rental calculator states is permissible.

Q: I have decided to sell my property and have listed it with an agent.

The agent found a buyer who would like to buy the unit. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the experience with this first agent and have decided to use another agent to sell my property.

The buyer that the first agent has found is now in touch with me, and I’ve asked them to go through a new agent to finish the deal.

If I go ahead with the sale through the second agent, will the buyer or myself be liable for any costs to the first agent? SC, Dubai

A: Selling a property in today’s market requires some sort of documentation.

There are three forms/contracts that are required. Form A, which is a contract between seller and agent, Form B, the contract between buyer and agent, and the sales contract itself, known as Form F.

Form F cannot be completed without first arranging forms A and B.

To market a property, however, only requires form A to be in place.

Presumably, you have entered into (at the very least) a marketing agreement with the first agent (Form A). The terms of this agreement are laid out within it and should be adhered to. This agreement can, however, be cancelled.

Finding a buyer and getting that same buyer to agree to buy are, in fact, two different things, so if you had gone through the procedure of forms, A, B and F, it is not possible for you to now proceed with the sale through another third-party agent.

That said, you can compensate the first agent, who will then agree to walk away, allowing you to conclude the sale through the second agent.

Dubai apartment prices January 2023 — in pictures

If everything is done without the knowledge of the first agent, you do run the risk that he will find out eventually and, if he has the correct paperwork, he could go to the Dubai Land Department's Real Estate Regulatory Agency in order to complain.

You could then be liable to also pay his fee.

I suggest you sort things out in the open and come to some agreement with all parties to ensure there are no surprises further down the line.

Mario Volpi is the sales director at AX Capital. He has worked in the property sector for 39 years, in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to m.volpi@axcapital.ae

Updated: March 16, 2023, 4:00 AM